Mistembec with Drunken Cherry Jam

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There is something special about working with old recipes from hundreds of years ago, it almost feels like going back in time. At least that is how I felt when I was cooking this delicious recipe for the “Mistembec”. This is a recipe that dates back to the XIV century, though it has slightly changed with the addition of the baking powder or yeast for example! Some say that the name itself mis-em-bec means put-in-mouth some say it may come from Arabic. They are a kind of doughnut or “Beignets”, like we call them in France, fried in oil and coated in honey, sugar syrup or caramel.

I paired my “Mistembec” with a drunken cherry jam. The cherry jam really complements this delicious dessert as the acidity of the cherries and rum aroma combined, give the “Mistembec” another dimension.

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel here for more!

Ingredients for the Mistembec:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 50g melted unsalted butter
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • frying oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

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Method:

  1. Mix the flour with the egg yolk, melted butter, orange blossom water salt and baking powder.
  2. Add warm water until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to around 180 degrees.
  5. Once rested, stir the batter to loosen it a little bit.
  6. Whisk the egg white until light and fluffy like snow ( soft peak) without over whisking them and fold them through the batter
  7. Drop tablespoons of batter in the hot oil, try to give them different shape as you drop the mixture in. Don’t do more than 5-6 at a time to avoid dropping the oil temperature too much
  8. Once golden on both side, place them on paper towel.

Ingredients for the caramel:

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

Method:

  1. Cook the sugar, water and vinegar until the sugar become slightly caramelized, you do not want to be dark.
  2. Before the “Beignets” are cold quickly dip them into the caramel and place on a tray to cool down. Make sure they do not touch each other otherwise they’ll stick.

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Ingredients for the Drunken cherry jam:

  • 600g pitted cherries, halved
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 120ml dark rum
  • 3 vanilla beans, seeded

Method:

  1. Cook the pitted cherries with the sugar, rum, vanilla seeds and pod on high heat until it starts boiling, then cook for about two hours on low heat to medium heat.

Serve with a Chateau “Suduiraut” Sauterne from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

Paris-Brest

 

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As is the way in many European cultures, the French love to celebrate special occasions with food. And not just any old food, often dishes are created just to celebrate a particular event, at times becoming just as iconic that the event they were created for.

One such dish is the Paris-Brest. This delicious choux pastry was created at the turn of the 20th century to celebrate the annual bike race from Paris to Brest, and is shaped like a doughnut to resemble a bike tyre. The pastry is sliced through the middle and filled with a light and creamy hazelnut praline. Back then, the cyclists competing in the race would snack on these sweet treats (a far cry form the carb gels that pro cyclists have nowadays), but now they are available in most patisseries in France.

To watch the how to make Choux Pastry video click here

Choux Pastry:

Ingredients:

  • 125g water
  • 125g full fat milk
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 10g salt
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 135 plain flour
  • 245g free range eggs, about 5 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a deep sauce pan bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to the boil.
  3. Once the butter has melted, take the sauce pan off the heat and ad the sifted flour. Return the pot to the heat and dry the choux pastry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the choux pastry to a mixing bowl and add the eggs one a time, make to incorporate each egg before adding another one, you can use an electric mixer like a Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment to make it easier.
  5. Using a piping bag, pipe the choux pastry in a ring shape, brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with coarsely chopped almond.
  6. Bake in hot oven for 40 minutes.

Hazelnut Praline:

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Ingredients:

  • 135g hazelnuts
  • 90g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven.
  2. Make a dry caramel with the sugar, make it the same way you would for a normal caramel but without water.
  3. Pour the caramel over the toasted hazelnut and leave to cool.
  4. Blitz the hazelnut in a food processor until you have a smooth paste.

Crème Pâtissière:

Ingredients:

  • 180g milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 40g egg yolk, 2-3 yolk
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 20g corn flower
  • 15g butter

Method:

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until slightly white. Then add the corn flour and whisk until mixed through.
  2. Bring the milk and vanilla pod, seeds scrapped out, to the boil.
  3. Pour the hot milk over the eggs and whisk until dissolved. Cook over medium heat until it start to boil, then cook for a further 1 minutes.
  4. Transfer the crème into a clean bowl, cover with glad wrap and leave to cool in the fridge. Make sure the glad wrap touches the crème!

Crème Mousseline Praliné:

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Ingredients:

  • 90g unsalted butter, soft
  • 255g crème patissière
  • 40g hazelnut Praline
  • 40g Hazelnut paste
  • pinch of slat flakes

Method:

  1. Whisk the crème patissière until smooth, then add the hazelnut paste, hazelnut praline, salt flake and whish until combine.
  2. Add the soft butter little bit a the time and whisk for 3-4 minute until homogenized.

Build the Paris-Brest:

Method:

  1. Cut the choux pastry in half, so you have two rings.
  2. Sprinkle hazelnut praline and toasted almonds on the bottom half
  3. Using a piping bag with the star nozzle, pipe the crème mousseline on the bottom half.
  4. Put the top part of the ring back on and sprinkle with icing sugar!

Enjoy straight away for dessert or afternoon tea!

Homemade Brioche

 

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If I had to describe brioche to someone who had never tried it before, I guess I would say that it’s a hybrid between cake and bread. It often comes in loaves just like bread, but as soon as you slice it you can see the texture is lighter, and more buttery, yet not quite spongy enough to be cake. It’s because of exactly these properties that the French class Brioche as a viennoiserie, along with pastries like croissants and pains au chocolat.

The first written reference to Brioche was in the 15th century and though it’s origin isn’t confirmed, it’s generally believed to been a Norman creation (i.e. from the north of France).

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Savoury brioche is often eaten at breakfast in lieu of bread in France. Sweetened varieties can be likened to Greek Easter bread, and in fact, my favourite kind of sweet brioche, called Mouna, is also served around Easter time. Mouna is traditional in Pied-Noir or Algerian cuisine, and because this is where my Mother was born, she has made it for Easter ever since I was born.

You can use brioche to substitute for bread wherever you want to add a richer flavour and fluffier texture. For example, use it as burger or hot dog buns, or slather some cheeky nutella on top of a slice at breakfast, or, use it to make French Toast like many Aussie cafés are already doing.

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Ingredients:

  • 500 g strong flour (bakers flour or OO)
  • 20 g salt
  • 20g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast
  • 300g unsalted butter, soft
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoon milk, warm

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Method:

  1. Crumble the yeast in a small bowl, add the warm milk to it and dissolve the yeast using your finger tips or if using dry yeast, sprinkle it over the warm milk and let it activate for about 10 minutes (or until it starts bubbling on top)
  2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in an electric mixing bowl with the hook attachment (I like to use a Kitchen Aid) and mix the three ingredients together.
  3. Add the yeast to the flour and mix a little. Then add the eggs one by one and mix until combined.
  4. Knead the dough on high speed for 8-10 minutes to really work the gluten in the flour and give the brioche dough the strength and elasticity we want ( the dough should not stick and the sides of the bowl should be clean).
  5. Add the butter a little bit a the time, wait until the butter is incorporated before adding more! Knead for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Loosely cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest until double in size. Then, knead the dough on a lightly floured bench to knock the air out of it and put it back in the bowl, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.
  7. The dough will be easier to work with and have a better flavour by proofing slowly overnight.

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The next day:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Take the dough out of the fridge and slightly knead it on a floured bench.
  3. Portion the dough in 100g balls, this recipe should give you about 10.
  4. Now you can form whatever shape you want, I chose to make buns with my brioche because I was having homemade Hotdogs for dinner!
  5. Place your Buns on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, you may need to use more than one tray as we do not want them to close to each other. Loosely cover them with glad wrap and leave to proof in a warm spot until double in size.
  6. Brush the brioche with a couple of beaten egg yolk mix with a little bit of milk and sprinkle some hail sugar on top if you’re making sweet brioche or some sesame seeds for example for savoury brioche.
  7. Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes, the brioche should be golden on top.
  8. Once cooked place them on a cooling rack and leave to cool.

Tip: Do not let the yeast come in direct contact with the salt as it would kill it.

 

 

 

Poule au Pot

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In the fifteenth century the Gascon-born French King, Louis IV, famously said in his coronation speech something along the lines of, “I want every peasant to have a chicken in their pot on Sundays”. Well, far be it from me to deny the wishes of an ex-sovereign, so today, I bring you this simple recipe that’s perfect for feeding the family, Sunday or otherwise.

Just like the pot-au-feu recipe I’ve shared previously, you can use the broth from the pot that remains at the end of cooking as an entrée and then serve the meat and veggies for the main.

What really brings this dish to life though is the sauce gribiche. The capers and cornichons give it a tang that complements the chicken so well!

 

Poule au Pot serve 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 litres chicken stock
  • 3 slices smoke bacon (2cm thick)
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 3 celery stick, cut into short lengths
  • 2 turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 4 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut into short lengths
  • 1 small head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 6 slices thick sourdough (2.5cm)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 free range chicken ( 2-2.5kg)

Method:

  1. Put the chicken stock, slices of bacon, vegetables, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves into a large pot, bring to the boil and leave to simmer while you prepare the stuffing for the chicken.

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For the stuffing:

  • 50g chicken liver, chopped
  • 125g white breadcrumbs
  • 120g rindless thick slice smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 shallots, finely chopped
  • 20g chopped parsley
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt

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For the vegetables:

  • 12 medium carotts
  • 12 small turnips, trimmed and sliced
  • 12 small potatoes, similar size and peeled
  • 12 small shallots, peeled
  • 6 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut in 3-4 pieces

Method:

  1. Mix the chicken liver, breadcrumbs, bacon, garlic, shallots, parsley, eggs and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Season the inside of the chicken and spoon the mixture inside.
  3. Truss the chicken securely with cooking string.
  4. Add the chicken to the pot, making sure that it is submerged. Add I teaspoon of salt, bring back to the boil and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Turn the chicken over top up with boiling water if necessary, but don’t dilute it too much and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 150 degrees Celsius. Place the slices of bread onto a tray and leave them for 20 minutes to dry out in the oven, but not brown.
  7. Lift the chicken out of the pot, remove the first lot of vegetables and discard.
  8. Return the chicken to the pot, add all the vegetables and bring back to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes and then the vegetables and chicken should be cooked.

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Sauce Gribiche:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons cornichons, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg white, finely chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg yolk, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped.

Method:

  1. Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl, then gradually whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Stir in the caper, cornichons, egg white, egg yolk, parsley and some salt and pepper to taste.

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Serving suggestion:

  1. To serve lift the chicken onto a board a cover with foil. Put the dried slice of bread at the bottom of a soup bowl, cover with stock and eat as a first course.
  2. Carve the chicken and cut the bacon. Place some vegetables, chicken, bacon and stuffing on a plate. Drizzle with some stock and serve with the sauce Gribiche.

I suggest you pair this classic dish with a “Close Planted” Pinot Noir 2012 from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel  here for more.

Bastille Day Main Course: Veal Paupiettes with a Cèpe sauce and Pilaf Rice

 

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Happy Bastille Day! This year for France’s national holiday I decided to mix cliché cuisine with lesser known French fare, and paupiette is one such dish. In a nutshell, Paupiette is meat beaten thin which is then wrapped around a stuffing which could include vegetables, fruit or sweetmeats. For today’s dish I used veal scaloppini and for the stuffing, a delicious pork mince flavoured with fresh herbs.

You’ll find paupiette all over France but most likely in northern regions like Normandy.

A favourite ingredient of mine is the cèpe mushroom and I relish any opportunity to include it in a dish, which I’ve managed in this recipe by including it as the sauce for the paupiettes.

Enjoy the main course and stay tuned for dessert!

Serve 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 thin veal escalopes, about 150g each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

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For the stuffing:

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick slices of crustless sourdough, about 50g and torn
  • 125 ml milk
  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100 g button mushroom, trimmed and finely chopped
  • ½ cup flat parsley, cleaned and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

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Method:

  1. Place the bread into a small bowl, cover with milk and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile place the pork mince, garlic mushroom and parsley in a medium size bowl and season with salt and pepper, mix well until combine.
  3. Squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add it to the mix, mix well until combine and set aside.
  4. Lay the escalopes on a chopping board, divide the stuffing into 4 equal portion and place it in the centre of each escalopes, make to leave about 2cm on the sides.
  5. Roll each escalopes to enclose the stuffing and form a log shape.
  6. Tie the paupiettes with cooking string to secure the stuffing and place in the fridge for one hour.

Cèpe Sauce:

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Ingredients:

  • 150 Cèpe mushroom
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carotts, brunoise ( finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon port
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Soak the mushroom in warm water to rehydrate them.
  2. Heat up a large casserole, I normally use a le Creuset, with some olive oil. Add the veal paupiettes and sear on all sides until golden brown, remove them from the casserole then set aside.
  3. For the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, then add a little bit of olive oil to the pan.
  4. Add the onion and carrot and stir well, scraping the bottom of the casserole. Add the mushroom and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the port, remove the casserole from the heat and carefully, using a long match or lighter light the port to burn off the alcohol ( this process is called Flambée).
  5. Return the casserole to the heat, sprinkle the flour, mix well and pour in the wine. Add the thyme, bay leaf and paupiettes and stir. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover with the lid and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Remove the string from the paupiettes and season to taste.

Pilaf Rice:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • ½ bunch thyme, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrots, diced

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat up a deep baking tray with some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrot and cook for 2 minutes then add the thyme.
  3. Add the rice, mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Pour in the wine, cook for a 1 minutes then add the stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then cover with a sheet of baking paper.
  5. Cook in the hot oven for ten minutes.

I suggest you serve the Veal Paupiettes with a side of Potato Purée, some fresh baguette and a glass of  Chateau Penin available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel here

 

Bastille Day Entrée : Snails in garlic butter

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As famous as the French are for crisp croissants and delectable desserts, they are equally infamous for less conventional dishes like frog’s legs and snails. Being someone who is deeply passionate about food and flavour, I believe you can’t knock something until you’ve tried it, so if you’ve never been game to try “escargot” before, this is your moment to bite the bullet!

If you need more convincing, then how about the fact that snails are high in protein and, on their own, quite low in fat. However, today’s recipe is not one for the health nuts because the key accompaniment is butter, butter and more butter. The up side is that if you were worried about your snails tasting too “snaily”, then never fear, as long as you love butter, garlic and parsley!

Serve your snails as an entrée on a bed of rock salt (to prevent the shells from tipping over and letting that delicious butter sauce escaping) with crusty baguette so that you can mop up the butter afterwards.

Snails in garlic butter:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of snails
  • 1 container empty snail shell
  • 300g butter, soft
  • ½ bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 80g garlic, peeled and grated
  • 10 ml Ricard or Pernod
  • 300 g rock salt

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Method:

  1. Mix the soft butter, garlic, parsley and Ricard together well and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Drain the snail and give them a quick rinse. Put one snail per shell and spoon the garlic butter on each shell.
  3. Place the rock salt on a flat baking tray, or you can use foil like i did, place the snails on top of it, the salt will help the snail stay upright so the butter doesn’t run away!
  4. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

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Serve hot with some Baguette on the side and a glass of Chateau Ollieux Romanis “Corbière Blanc available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au